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World’s Largest Business Travel Association and Event are Going Green

NBTA Announces Environment-Friendly Meetings Practices, New CSR Awards

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA), the leading business travel industry association, today published details of its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the NBTA International Convention & Exposition, the largest business travel event in the world. The association also announced plans for new Business Travel Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards Program.

“NBTA has a longstanding commitment to serving the community through initiatives that are now known as CSR, or corporate social responsibility,” said NBTA President & CEO, Kevin Maguire, CCTE. “Based on input from our members, we are now expanding our efforts to create an industry CSR awards program and to make NBTA’s meetings eco-friendly.”

NBTA Convention Green Program

In addition to the world’s largest business travel industry event – the NBTA International Convention & Exposition – NBTA hosts leading industry events in key markets around the world. Earlier this year the organization quietly implemented a policy to minimize the environmental impacts of these meetings through a variety of tactics, including reducing paper, eliminating waste, recycling, and leveraging low-impact facilities and materials.

As NBTA’s largest meeting, the annual convention is also the opportunity to make the greatest positive impact on the environment. The 2008 NBTA Convention, to be held July 27-30 in Los Angeles, will feature the following green initiatives:

Reducing Paper
· Rethinking registration handouts. NBTA engaged in a dialogue with exhibitors regarding the reduction of materials distributed in attendee registration bags. Historically, each attendee has received a bag containing dozens of informational and promotional handouts. This year, most of those handouts will be distributed only to the exhibitors’ primary audience—buyer attendees. Exhibitors will receive only a handful of necessary printed materials in their registration bags, significantly reducing the amount of paper used.
· One attendee, one Convention Journal. Pre-registered attendees of past NBTA Conventions received the Convention Journal once in the mail and again upon arrival at the convention. Starting this year, each attendee will only receive one copy of the 144-page book.
· Electronic education handouts. Rather than distributing paper handouts to all attendees of all 40 education sessions, attendees will be able to download handouts, and those who wish to print select handouts may do so. Thumb drives and download stations will be available on-site, as will printing stations.

Eliminating Waste, Recycling
· No single-service water bottles. Water coolers will be provided during breaks instead of individual water bottles.
· No food waste. Unused food from Convention meal functions will be donated to local food banks as appropriate. Food that cannot be donated, food service ware and plants will be composted or recycled as part of the Los Angeles Convention Center’s (LACC) standard practices.
· Recycling bins. Attendees will know their used paper, plastic and glass are destined to be recycled as they place the materials in bins throughout the convention center. Additionally, the LACC further sorts all waste to ensure all recyclable materials are recycled.

Low-Impact Facilities, Materials

· Paper and inks. Printed materials for the convention are printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks by a Forest Stewardship Council-certified printer.
· Energy and water. The LACC is one of the greenest facilities of its kind in the world. It is the largest solar energy-generating convention center in North America. Specialized equipments throughout the convention center contribute to cleaner air and water, while reducing the facility’s carbon footprint and the use of energy and water. For detailed information on LACC’s environmental programs, see http://www.lacclink.com/pdf/press/2008_May_20_GREEN_ALL_OVER_Fact_Sheet.pdf.
· Registration bags. The registration bag given to each attendee is made of recycled materials, thanks to the support of Northwest Airlines.

Carbon Offsets

The carbon footprint for the 2008 NBTA Convention is being offset by Carbonfund.org, a leading nonprofit carbon offset organization. Carbon offsets represent the reduction of CO2 in one location, such as a wind farm in Texas, to offset the CO2 produced in another location, in this case, the convention center. The reduction of CO2 emissions slows the pace of global warming.

Business Travel CSR Awards Program

NBTA and its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee will launch a Business Travel CSR Awards Program later this year. Awards will be given annually to one Direct (travel buyer) Member and one Allied (supplier) Member in recognition of their leadership in the most innovative and significant business travel initiatives implemented for their companies to take greater responsibility within their communities while minimizing the environmental impact of business travel.

The call for nominations will be issued in September 2008, and the first NBTA Business Travel CSR Awards will be given in the first quarter of 2009.

For more information on the NBTA CSR Committee, see www.nbta.org/Members/CommitteesCouncilsTaskForces/CSR.htm.

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